Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fire Roasted Heirloom Salsa

One of the things I did, just prior to getting hit with the recent hurricane, was go food shopping. Just like every person within 100 miles of me. I was hoping the storm wouldn't be as bad as everyone was predicting, that we wouldn't lose power, and that the weekend would be spent being stuck inside, playing board games, watching movies, cooking yummy food and eating!
So, rather stupidly, I stocked the fridge to the max. It wasn't the brightest thing to do because we did indeed lose power. At first it flickered on and off, about every hour or so. Then, it finally went kaput for good the morning the storm hit. After that, the next 48 hours had me in a panic. Not because we couldn't watch TV, or use the computer, or because it's very hard to get used to doing everything in the dark...but, because of the food! Why, oh why, did I spend all that money on food? Much of which would end up getting thrown away. Especially when there are people all over this planet starving?
To relieve some of the anxiety I was having over the situation, I made it my mission to use up as much of it as I could. Luckily, we had the foresight to fill the propane tank for the grill, and anything that could be cooked on it, did. The need to empty the contents of our crisper drawer, combined with a massive amount of tomatoes I had on hand from our garden, inspired this recipe.

I've made many variations of salsa this green kind, some with fruit, and more with fruit. Usually, if I'm making traditional red tomato salsa, I make it in a similar fashion to the ones I just mentioned, using raw ingredients. But, this time I wanted to try something new. So, I ended up roasting half the tomatoes, along with some of the other ingredients on the grill, until they were charred and full of smoky flavor. The other half of the tomatoes, I left raw. I did this to keep some of the fresh, juicy texture of heirloom tomatoes present...yet with the roasted flavor mixed in.

If I had my oven to use, I might have tried roasting the vegetables under the broiler. As it would have been easier than grilling them. But, if you have a grill basket, or one of those handy grill pans that you lay over the grill grates, they work great! They prevent smaller items from slipping through the grates of the grill, and I use ours all the time. I threw a couple jalapeno peppers on whole, but I chopped the rest of the veggies into large pieces, so they'd hold up over the high heat.

Before grilling, I tossed everything with some oil, salt and pepper. Then, I grilled the vegetables until they were tender and lightly charred. Once cool enough to handle, I chopped everything up and mixed it together with raw chopped tomatoes, some {pressed} garlic, freshly squeezed lime juice, and chopped cilantro.

This recipe makes a pretty big batch, and I'm glad it did. Once my fridge was back on, it was great to have some handy the rest of the week. We ate it the usual way...accompanied by tortilla chips, but it's also delicious with eggs!

Fire Roasted Heirloom Salsa

Makes 4 cups
I used many different varieties of tomatoes for this salsa, all of which varied in size. Some were enormous, while others were only slightly bigger than a cherry tomato. Because of this, I am giving the quantity for the tomatoes in weight. This is a general approximation, and you can adjust the ingredients according to how many tomatoes you have on hand.

2 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes
1 medium red onion, cut into quarters
1 bell pepper, seeded + cut in half
2 jalapeno peppers, or to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil + more for grill
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large cloves of garlic, pressed
1 lime
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

special equipment: a grill basket, or grid

Preheat a grill on high heat, and rub a grill basket generously with oil.
Cut half of the tomatoes into large pieces, and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. To the pan, also add the quartered red onion, bell pepper halves, and the jalapeno peppers. Toss together with the vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and black pepper, until evenly coated. Arrange all of the veggies on the grill basket, and roast, turning occasionally, until tender and beginning to char on the edges. Remove from the grill, place back on the baking sheet, and let cool slightly.
Once cool enough to handle, medium dice all of the roasted vegetables, and place in a large bowl. Note: for the jalapeno peppers, I removed the seeds and stems before dicing to cut back on the heat a bit. You can adjust this according to your preference. If you'd like your salsa very spicy, dice them as is, seeds and all.
Medium dice the remaining raw tomatoes, and add them to the bowl. Add the garlic, juice of one lime, and chopped cilantro. Stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, add in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, if desired, and serve.
Note: You can make this salsa well ahead of time. It tastes great for days, and only gets better as the flavors have a chance to blend.
Click here for the printable recipe.


Laurie {Simply Scratch} said...

I have an obsession for homemade salsas... and a grill basket... which only means one thing! I'm sooo making this!

london bakes said...

Wow, this salsa looks awesome. I love the combination of raw and roasted tomatoes, it must add such a depth of flavour.

Joanne said...

My fridge was also definitely stocked beyond belief before the hurricane...for no reason other than that all of us thought it was a good idea to buy perishable groceries. No.Sense. Thankfully, our power didn't go out. At least something good came out of all this - the salsa sounds fabulous and those photos are gorgeous!

Dishy said...

This salsa is beyond beautiful and you're so clever to have roasted half for depth of flavor. How come your photos look so much better during a storm than most of us in perfect weather??!! Seriously. You rock, woman.

AquĆ­ said...

I love heirloom tomatoes but I have never put them into a salsa! Going to try this! I tried growing some this summer but here, in Hawaii, we have a black fly that stings the tomatoes and the basically rot from the inside out. Its a bummer, I've learned only cherry tomatoes will make it here outdoor because they have a thicker skin, Gorgeous photography as usual!

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